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Environmental Issues Instruction (eii)

eii is a graduate level in-service program designed to prepare teachers to teach environmental issues to students K-14.

eii is:

  • A process of teaching and learning
  • Experiential teaching and learning
  • A model of thematic instruction
  • Teaching ecological concepts by integrating disciplines
  • An analysis of issues
  • Responsible environmental action
  • Development of teacher/leaders
  • Aligned with the Iowa Core Essential Skills and Concepts
  • A great example of the Iowa Core’s Characteristics of Effective Instruction
  • Inquiry based

eii Teaching Model

Program Information (2018-2020)

eii students working on a class project

Environmental Issues Instruction (eii) and Upper Iowa University presents: Water Connects Us All: Growing Networks for Clean and Safe Water in the Heartland

This is an interdisciplinary, undergraduate or graduate-level college credit course for all teachers PK-12 and other environmental educators.

Receive two college credits for a total cost of $275. This includes college credit, food, lodging, and teaching materials. This is made possible by grant funding from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Resources Enhancement and Protection-Conservation Education Program (REAP-CEP), Iowa Farm Bureau, the Izaak Walton League, and Upper Iowa University.

FIRST WORKSHOP: The first workshop was held February 2019 in Mt. Vernon, and the update session was held April 5-6, 2019.

SECOND WORKSHOP: The second workshop was held June 2019 at Lakeside Lab, and the update session was held April 4-5, 2020.

THIRD WORKSHOP: A third workshop was held November 15-17, 2019, at UIU’s Quad Cities Center. The update session was held March 27-28, 2020.

FOURTH WORKSHOP: A fourth workshop was held February 28-March 1, 2020, at UIU’s Fayette Campus. The update session was held May 1-2, 2020.

Update sessions begin Friday evening and end Saturday afternoon.

Theme: Water Connects Us All — Growing Networks for Clean and Safe Water in the Heartland

Farms make up 92% of the land in Iowa and, while water availability and quality are major concerns for farmers in the state; run-off from farms has made drinking water quality a significant concern for all Iowans. In response to excessively high levels of nutrients in Iowa waterways, Iowa released the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy in 2014. The strategy uses an integrated approach to reduce nutrients in surface water from both point and nonpoint (e.g. farm fields) sources. Water Connects Us All will provide professional development workshops focusing on environmental education that includes methods to reduce nutrients in surface water, thereby helping to improve water quality in Iowa. This professional development opportunity will help educators align their teaching with state standards and incorporate real world, local issues, while increasing the environmental literacy of their students, who represent the future of Iowa.

Issue: Should action be taken to improve water and soil quality in Iowa?

The eii model utilizes:

  • Next Generation Science Standards
  • STEM-Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics
  • Project-Based Teaching and Learning
  • Framework for K-12 Science Cross-Cutting Concepts
  • Interdisciplinary Teaching and Learning
  • Iowa Core Characteristics of Effective Instruction
  • Differentiated Instruction
  • The Learning Cycle/5E’s

Thematic Integration of:

  • Environmental Education
  • Science
  • Technology
  • Engineering
  • Mathematics
  • Reading
  • Social Studies
  • Language Arts
  • Fine Arts
  • Physical Education

Course: EDU 461/561: Environmental Issues Instruction: Water Connects Us All-Growing Networks for Clean and Safe Water in the Heartland

Two hours of undergraduate or graduate credit from Upper Iowa University

Course Expectations:

  • Attend two sessions-initial and update:
  • Modeling of instructional levels
  • Sharing the teaching experience
  • Develop and teach unit between initial and update sessions
  • Give evidence of student action
  • Administer student assessment (pre-post)
  • Prepare brief written report of experience

Instructional Model:

  • I – Issue Analysis
  • II – Ecological Foundations
  • III – Energy Issues
  • IV – Responsible Environmental Action

Instructional Support:

  • Resource materials for integrating disciplines
  • Provide consultation and materials for action projects
  • E-mail and telephone contacts

Institutional Support:

  • Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
  • REAP-CEP (Resource Enhancement and Protection-Conservation Education Program)
  • Upper Iowa University-Andres School of Education
  • Iowa State University Extension Education
  • Iowa Farm Bureau
  • Izaak Walton League

Previous Themes

eii students working on a project outside.


Food, Farming, and Climate Change


Soil: The Earth Beneath Our Feet


Energy Systems of the Prairie


Preserving and Protecting Our Water Resources


Wildlife of Prairie Roadsides


Rain, Runoff, and Rivers: Understanding Watersheds


Tropical Rain Forest
Global Climate Change
Polar Issues
Solid Waste Management
Feeding the World
Ecological Foundations Enhancement
Preserving Biodiversity: Endangered Species
Valuing Our Wetlands
Urban Wetlands
Exploring Climate Change
Climate Change: Weather, Climate, and Me
Feeding the World in a Changing Climate (REDI)
Species Loss in a Changing Climate (TEDI)
Biomes in a Changing Climate (TEDI+)
Forests in a Changing Climate (TEDI III)
Iowa’s Tropical Birds
Iowa’s Roadside Prairies
Iowa’s Roadside Native Communities: Savanna
Iowa’s Roadside Native Communities: Wet Prairies
Investigating Iowa Prairies

Photo Gallery

Visit our photo gallery on Flickr

Resources for Participants

Iowa Core Curriculum Connections – Middle School

Rain, Runoff, and Rivers: Understanding Watersheds 
(Use as an organizational tool, eii-2010)

ActivityScienceMathLiteracySocial Studies21st Century Skills
Inquiry - 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10Number and Operations -
Reading -2,3,5,6Behavioral Sciences -
Financial Literacy -
Earth and Space -
Algebra -
Writing -

Economics -
Health Literacy -
Life Science -
Data Analysis and Probability -
Speaking -
Geography -
Technology Literacy -
Physical Science -
Listening -
History -
Employability Skills -
Viewing -
Political Science/Civic Literacy -
74 overall19 total10 total16 total16 total13 total



Supported by grant funding from United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Iowa Resource Enhancement and Protection – Conservation Education Program (REAP-CEP), Iowa Farm Bureau, Izaak Walton League, and Upper Iowa University.